5 Jul 2022 11:18

Lugano conference: Europe pledges to help Ukraine recover

MOSCOW. July 5 (Interfax) - It is important that the Ukrainian recovery begins now, Ukrainian media outlets quoted European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) President Odile Renaud-Basso as saying at the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC) in Lugano on Monday.

Renaud-Basso noted the importance of starting immediate preparations for Ukraine's recovery and said the more support Ukraine gets now the easier and more effective its recovery will be. She also said they have to take some risks upon their balance sheet and look at the real economy, critical infrastructure.

The EBRD is ready to increase financing of Ukraine, with emphasis on private sector, Renaud-Basso said. The EBRD will significantly increase the funding; the recovery will require larger financing of the private sector and direct foreign investment, she said.

Attention should be paid to competitive sectors, such as metallurgy, IT and agriculture, Renaud-Basso said.

For her part, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was a moral duty of the international community to help Ukraine recover.

"The task ahead of us is colossal. [...] This is not only in our interest - it is also in our interest - but it is also our moral duty, our moral obligation," von der Leyen said in Lugano on Monday.

"Ukraine will need courageous reforms. But reforms should go hand in hand with investment. [...] Ukraine will have to restore business confidence and attract more capital from abroad. Ukraine will have to improve living standards for its citizens. And Ukraine will advance on its path towards the European Union," she said.

"The challenges are huge, without any question - but they are not insurmountable. Ukraine can emerge from this war on a path towards a stronger and more modern country with a modernised judiciary, with stronger institutions, with a solid track record to fight against corruption. But also with a greener, more digital and more resilient economy," she said.

Meanwhile, the European Investment Bank (EIB) proposed at the conference in Lugano that assistance be broadened with a new instrument, a new EU-Ukraine trust fund Gateway (GTF).

EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwinska said at a press conference on Monday this is an additional instrument for the recovery of critical infrastructure and the EIB is hoping to use the trust fund to provide assistance in areas where it is most needed.

The fund mechanism has been elaborated, she said

The EIB believes that the fund will play an important role in drawing funds, including those private, Czerwinska said.

She reminded the audience that the EIB portfolio in Ukraine amounts to 7 billion euros, and about 700 million euros have been allotted since February 24.

As for the needs of Ukraine, the national program of housing and infrastructure recovery and modernization in Ukrainian regions envisages $150 billion to $250 billion investments.

The numbers were given in the Ukraine recovery vision with the theme, "A Strong European Country - Magnet for Foreign Investment," at the URC in Lugano.

The Ukraine Recovery Plan envisages the yearly GDP growth of 7% over ten years and $750-billion investment in the economy, according to the document presented in Lugano.

"These are retail sources of financing. One third is private investment. But we also really need grants, loans and reparations," head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy Daniil Hetmantsev said at the conference.

For his part, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushshenko said that Ukraine sought to build renewable energy facilities with the overall capacity of 7.1GW in the course of recovery efforts.

"It is our goal to build renewable energy facilities with the overall capacity of 7.1GW by shifting to market models of green energy promotion, including green auctions. At the initial stage, we are planning to install storage capacities totaling 750 MW," the minister said at a virtual high-level meeting with the theme "Renewables to Power Post-War Ukraine in Brussels on Monday.

"We are considering 10GW hydrogen exports to the EU from Ukraine, which the European Commission set as our starting point," he said.

According to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, the next Ukraine Recovery Conference will take place in the UK in 2023.

"Will hold the next Ukraine Recovery Conference in the UK! Thanks to British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss for her constant help and willingness to contribute to the development of Ukraine! URC2023 will be the next step in the recovery started in Lugano thanks to Switzerland," Shmyhal said on Twitter.